emeraldarrows: Turn - Ben looking up (15)
2031-05-27 04:57 pm

Someone will remember us, I say, even in another time.


not spoiler free. feel free to add but please leave me a note.
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Just me, a fast ship, and a fair galaxy. )
emeraldarrows: Constantine - John smirking (4)
2030-08-22 02:06 pm

To Watch list

TV seasons to watch/finish watching

X Company s3
Sliders s3&4&5
Highlander s2&3&4&5&6
CHiPs s2&3&4&5&6
Bronco s3&4
T.J. Hooker s4
Lawman s2&3&4
Zane Grey Theatre s4&5
Little Men s1&2
Bourbon Street Beat s1
Lancer s1&2
Seven Days s1&2&3
Surfside 6 s1&2
The Collector s1&2&3
The High Chaparral s1&2&3&4
The Ponderosa s1
The Second Hundred Years s1

Upcoming TV I want to try/watch

Midnight Texas - premieres - July 25
Outlander - s3&4 - September
Inhumans - s1 - September
The Shannara Chronicles - s2 - October
Seal Team - premieres -
The Good Doctor - premieres -
The Gifted - premieres -
Knightfall - premieres -
The Alienist - premieres -
The Terror - premieres -
The Frankenstein Chronicles - s2 -
Daredevil - s3 -
Z Nation - s4 -
Britannia - premieres -
Godless - premieres -
Lucifer - s3 - October 2
Legends of Tomorrow - s3 - October 10
The Flash - s4 - October 10
Supernatural - s13 - October 12
Scorpion - s4 -
Humans - s3 -
The X-Files - s11 -
When Calls the Heart - s5 -
IZombie - s4 -
The Originals - s5 -
Once Upon A Time - s7 -
12 Monkeys - s4 -

Upcoming Films & Miniseries I want to try

Lewis and Clark
Man At Arms
A Gown Of Spanish Lace
Wreck It Ralph 2
How To Train Your Dragon 3
Oz the Great and Powerful 2
Sherlock Holmes 3
Thor 3
World War Z 2
Prince Charming
The Sword In the Stone
Maleficent 2
Star Trek 4
Robin Hood: Origins
The Avengers: Infinity War part 1
The Avengers: Infinity War part 2
The Legend Of William Tell
Hansel and Gretel: Death's Messengers
War for the Planet of the Apes
The Death Cure
The Little Mermaid
A Court of Thorns and Roses
Rose Red
Tinker Bell
Tulip Fever
Black Widow
Mary Poppins Returns
Pacific Rim 2
The Greatest Showman
Now You See Me 3
A Storm in the Stars
Deadpool 2
New Mutants
Devil in the White City
Justice League
The Silver Chair
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them 2
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Ashes In the Snow
The Beguiled
The Man From UNCLE 2
War of the Worlds
12th Man
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Goodbye Christopher Robin
A Wrinkle In Time
The Shape of Water
The Snowman
emeraldarrows: The Mentalist - Patrick smiling and looking adorable (14)
2017-06-15 07:58 pm

For a moment, she almost forgot he was a pirate.

Next on my reading list was To Catch A Pirate by Jade Parker, which promised a historical swashbuckling romance. And it ended up being exactly what I was hoping for.

Summary on the back: When Annalisa Townsend’s ship is set upon by pirates in search of her father's treasure, one of the crew, James Sterling, discovers her in the hold. When he moves to take her necklace, she begs him not to, as it is all she has left of her mother. He accepts a kiss in exchange for the necklace. "A fair trade, m'lady," he tells her afterward, before disappearing. A year later, with a forged letter of marque, Annalisa is intent on hunting down the wretched James Sterling and reclaiming her father's treasure from him. But now she’s in danger of him stealing something far more vulnerable this time: her heart.

My thoughts: I was in the mood for something very light and fluffy and To Catch A Pirate certainly delivered. My expectations were quite low, so I ended up being very entertained by James and Annalisa's adventures and quite adorable romance, even as instantaneous as Annalisa's infatuation was. I adored the piracy and sea-faring aspects of the story, and while completely far-fetched at times - okay, often, the entire book had an enjoyable whimsy about it that kept me turning pages.

I do wish the characters had been a bit older - I think I'm getting old in that every time I read book with teenagers being captains of a ship I just roll my eyes - and a bit more build up to the romance would have been nice, but overall I had few complaints with the delightful escapism of the tale.
emeraldarrows: Charmed - Piper waving her hands with text "I did it!" (12)
2017-05-30 01:09 am

How foolish to believe we are more powerful than the sea or the sky.

Next on my reading list was Salt To the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, a novel about a largely unknown event in WWII.

Summary on the back: Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets. Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war. As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom. Yet not all promises can be kept.

My thoughts: I must admit, I'm not at all familiar with the historical tragedy that forms the basis for the story, so by the time it happened, I'd nearly forgotten it was going to be in the book at all. It strangely felt like an afterthought, rather than what should have been the focus, leaving the ending somewhat rushed and jarring compared to the pace and tone of the entire story up to that point. Despite the sense that the plot is building toward something, the majority of it is more a character study of a group of people who happen to cross paths. The writing style took me a bit to get used it - it has a strange, uneven feel like poetry that doesn't rhyme, and is a little over simplified at times - and the continually switching point of view was occasionally hard to follow, but I liked the characters and emotional impact of their experiences. All of them seemed more mature than most YA characters - I forgot most of them were meant to be teenagers - and it was easy to become attached to them, particularly Florian and Emilia whose relationship - thankfully non romantic - was quite sweet and touching. Florian and Joana's romance was a bit underdeveloped, but enjoyable. Even the background characters - like the shoemaker - were fleshed out and interesting.

One thing I particularly liked was that the entire book has the feel of a memoir written by a survivor, rather than a distant account, making the history seem so much more vivid, and the fate of several of the characters much more tragic. I also loved the contrast between each of the main characters, the secret they hide, and how each forms a quarter of the whole story, due to the uniqueness of their viewpoint. I appreciated how the writer didn't shy away from the horrors of the war, even if some of the bleakness was uncomfortable to read. The book is also probably the closest thing I've ever found to the gorgeous The Unresolved, which is one of my favorite books.

Overall, despite an odd writing style, Salt To the Sea was a powerful, haunting book that left me thinking about it for quite a while afterwards, and eager to learn more about the history that inspired it.

emeraldarrows: Moonlight - Mick carrying Beth (11)
2017-05-23 09:56 pm

Far better to be taken soon. But not now. Never right now.

Someone recommended The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín on tumblr, and the summary intrigued me so I checked it out.

Summary on the back: You wake up alone in a horrible land. A horn sounds. The Call has begun. The Sidhe are close. They're the most beautiful and terrible people you've ever seen. And they've seen you. Nessa will be Called soon. No one thinks she has any chance to survive. But she's determined to prove them wrong.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. Equal parts The Hunger Games blended with Irish folklore mixed with a dash of Lord of the Flies, it was delightfully unique, bizarre, and strange in the very best way. I loved the concept - years ago the Irish trapped the fairies in a mystical realm, and they now pay by having their children taken in a gruesome game - and the world building - training camps to attempt to make more children survive the Call, thereby ensuring the human world endures. It was dystopian, but in a completely fresh way, and I got instantly caught up in it to the point I couldn't put it down. The characters were diverse, and unique enough that I even kept track of the background characters. And the Sidhe were fascinating! Apologetically horrific and grim, with the feel of being plucked from ancient legends and nightmares, it was a strange relief to have uncomplicated villains - both fairies and the human Connor - that are unquestionably nonredeemable, while still raising questions regarding whether the humans were in the right to begin with. The writing is stark, creepy, and excellent, sucking me in from the start and never slacking.

And Nessa! A disabled, courageous protagonist who is underestimated (instead of a nearly mythical savior as most YA types seem to be), determined to survive when everyone tells her to her face that she shouldn't even try, and who gets her happy ending, all without a magical cure or erasure of her disability. Best of all, her disability is merely a part of her, not the sum total of her personality. It was such an absolute gift to finally find a character like this that I got quite giddy over it. Her friendship with Megan - who was so supportive of her - was wonderful; I'm still broken over her fate. And Anto was such a sweetheart - a perfect match for Nessa's feisty spirit. I also greatly appreciated that the book didn't just gloss over the psychological effect that the Call has on the children - even showing the trauma years later on the adults who've survived it.

I had a few minor quibbles - I would have loved more backstory, a slightly less rushed romance - although it had some sweet moments - and at times the gore was a bit much, but the compelling atmosphere, setting, and style far outweighed the bad and has me eagerly awaiting the sequel.
emeraldarrows: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Spike kissing the top of Buffy's head (10)
2017-05-19 09:56 pm

When the swamp took my brother, it sent someone - something else to take his place.

Next on my reading list was Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker which promised a Southern Gothic, horror-tinged tale. But the results were quite a letdown.

Summary on the back: It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp - the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed. Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance - and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

My thoughts: The premise is absolutely fascinating. The deep south atmosphere is alluring. But unfortunately, that's as far as it goes. Despite a promising start, the story asks more questions than it answers, and the characters are flat and uninteresting, which baffled me considering how much potential they initially had to be intriguing. There was so much possibility with Phin and Sterling's relationship, but the lack of flashbacks, and the story starting after his disappearance means you have no background on them, making it difficult to care about her quest to rescue him. Then there was Heath, who could have been an amazing character, and instead fell short, both in personality and in his friendship with Nathan. Most frustrating was Leonora May, a character it should have been impossible not to make interesting, who yet somehow managed to be remarkably dull.

The book suffered from a lot of "tell but don't show" when it came to the relationships - even Heath and Sterling's romance had no buildup to make me invested - and while the writer may have been trying to keep an air of mystery about the swamp, the lack of real explanations made me too frustrated to appreciate the atmosphere. I did love the deep south details, though, and only wish everything else had been better to go along with them.

Ultimately, Beware the Wild was a disappointment, with a brilliant premise and perfectly good writing squashed beneath poor execution and uninteresting characters.
emeraldarrows: Doctor Who - Fifth Doctor cheering while playing cricket with text "one for team doctor!" (1)
2017-05-16 01:01 am

But who names a starship the Icarus? ...that much hubris, that he dares it to fall?

I keep seeing people talking about These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner on tumblr, so I bumped it up on my reading list. And while not at all what I was expecting, I ended up loving it.

Summary on the back: It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they're worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

My thoughts: I looove space romances. And I adore the whole stranded on an alien world/having to depend on each other to survive cliche. And while the ages of the protagonists had me raising an eyebrow (fourteen, really?), I grew to love them both. The story benefited from a narrow focus - only two characters for the bulk of it - and while the character development felt a bit sketchy at times - there was far too little of Tarver's past, which I kept waiting and hoping for - I grew to love both characters and their relationship with each other.

The beginning, while well written, was a bit slow, and took me a while to get into, but I ended up sticking with it, and I'm glad I did. The plot twist partway through took me completely by surprise - I absolutely adored it, though, even if I'm left with more questions than answers regarding Lilac and the life on the planet in general. The whole concept was refreshing, so very different from most YA sci-fis (it was very nice to have characters who were saving each other instead of this massive undertaking to save the world, for a change), and left me eager to start on the rest of the series.

Overall, I had few complaints with These Broken Stars, and enjoyed it tremendously. I also love that gorgeous cover!

emeraldarrows: Spartacus - Agron sad face (8)
2017-04-07 11:52 pm

Once, there was a girl who vowed she would save everyone in the world, but forgot herself.

Next on my reading list was The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black which I'd heard a lot of good things about and finally decided to try.

Summary on the back: Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for. Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once. At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking. Until one day, he does. As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

My thoughts: My very favorite thing about this book was the fantastic atmosphere: dark and dreamy, with the kind of evil fairies from old stories. I love fairies in general, and this took it a step further than most fantasies. The mix of folk tale and modern world was delightful and surprisingly well fused - I adore the concept of tourists coming to see the boy in the glass coffin, while at the same time showing Hazel and Ben's special bond with him throughout their childhood. The plot had a lovely, almost whimsical feel to it, and the ending was the perfect bittersweet fairytale. Unlike a lot of fantasies, I felt it struck a good balance between being dark and creepy enough to be enjoyable, and yet not over the top gruesome. The writing, sometimes simplistic old-fashioned tale, other times very beautiful and profound, sucked me in and kept me turning pages even when the plot sagged.

While there wasn't as much depth to the characters as I would have liked, I enjoyed their uniqueness. Ben's curse .. or gift ... was very interesting, and Hazel, despite being a strong character, lacked the usual abrasiveness of female protagonists. The mysterious boy was a bit of let down, unfortunately, or maybe I just expected something more from him after all the mystery and build up at the beginning. My favorite character was Jack, though - honestly I would love the entire book to be from his perspective. I've always liked the concept of changelings, and it was such an intriguing plot point to have the parents demand their own child back and keep and raise the changeling, too. I felt like there could have been so much more explored with his character. I admit I was a bit worried initially that the story was building up to an entirely different romance, and I was relieved and very happy to discover the direction it went in instead. I loved Jack and Hazel's relationship, even if it felt a bit underdeveloped at times. Ben and Hazel's sibling relationship was also very sweet and touching, with a bit of a Hansel and Gretel vibe.

The plot was a bit hit and miss, occasionally disjointed and tangled to the point that I got lost - perhaps my loathing for mysteries was hurting me there - and the revelations were disappointing. Overall, it felt like it needed another novel to flesh out the story more, and while I enjoyed it very much - especially its gorgeous tone - it felt slightly less than satisfying.
emeraldarrows: Once Upon A Time In Wonderland - Cyrus and Alice kissing (6)
2017-03-19 02:23 am

I realize that even maybe is more than Paul had dared to dream of.

I found A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray thanks to a recommendation on tumblr, and was intrigued by the plot enough to bump it to the top of my reading list.

Summary on the back: Marguerite Caine's physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes — and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite's father is murdered, and the killer — her parent's handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him. Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows — including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul's guilt — as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father's death is far more sinister than she expected.

My thoughts: This was an odd book, to be honest, with its fusion of genres and variations of the same characters, and I couldn't figure out whether I truly liked it, or just was curious to see where it went for much of the first part. Then I hit the Russian part of the story, and completely fell in love with it. The plot felt like a fresh twist on reincarnation or body jumping stories, along the lines of Quantum Leap, and the romance that tied it all together was surprisingly enjoyable. I also loved the vaguely steampunk feel of the story and some of the worlds. Paul was by far my favorite character, a sort of broody antihero, and for his sake, more than Marguerite, I found it easy to root for their love story. Marguerite, unfortunately, came across as a bit too YA protagonist for my tastes, although I did love her devotion to her family. I felt her family would have benefited from more of a role, though, as all of them felt like background characters in Marguerite's memory, especially Josie, who came across as quite flat and forgettable, especially for the characters that are supposed to emotionally drive the plot forward.

The world-building was good, for the most part, although definitely strongest in the Russian setting, where everything felt more vivid and detailed. I like the musings on the ethical implications over taking over someone's body and life, as well as considering the differences between the various versions of the characters across the worlds. And, despite being the first of a series, I found the ending satisfying.

Despite all the things I loved, there were some elements that irked me. I'm not a mystery fan, so I was mostly bored by the intrigue, and I guessed the villain right at the beginning which made that aspect even less interesting. I felt a sense of disconnect at some of what should have been the more emotional moments. And there were times when Marguerite's behavior annoyed me - her lack of ability to figure out her own feelings and her whiplash-causing sudden mood swings, particularly in wanting to murder Paul in cold blood to falling in love with him. But despite the flaws, I greatly enjoyed A Thousand Pieces of You for its creativity and uniqueness.
emeraldarrows: Primeval - Connor happy face with text "squee" (3)
2017-02-28 05:36 pm

They saved me. So, you give that girl half a chance, maybe she can do the same for you.

I got to see the new Disney Beauty and the Beast in theatres, and despite my reservations it completely blew me away to become my favorite version. I've never really liked the animated version with the exception of the servants - I've always been annoyed at it for completely turning the original fairytale upside down in regards to Belle and the Beast's characters and the reason for the curse, but it seemed better here. The Beast was wonderful, far removed from the unlikable animated version, fleshed out with a bit of backstory - I loved the comment about the servants not preventing him from being warped by his cruel father as the reason why they were caught up in the curse as well - and the decision to show the curse occur, but obscure his face with makeup was brilliant. The costumes were gorgeous - I adored the historical details of the 1700s style French clothes and shoes, the gorgeous gold effects on Belle's gown, and the whimsy of her tucked up skirt. Belle was perfect, kind and lovely, and Maurice was wonderful, with their relationship one of my favorite things in the movie. Despite the fact that, as usual, I longed for more scenes between the Beast and Belle, their love story felt more believable than in prior versions, helped by a kindness shining out of the Beast's eyes - someone commented this was the first version where the Prince felt like the heart of the Beast, rather than another person entirely and I agree - as well as a beautifully touching scene where the Beast and Belle bond over him reading Arthurian legends and feeling a similar sense of disconnect from society. I liked that Lefou got a bit of redemption arc, and that Gaston was unrepentantly evil to the end - it's sometimes nice to see a pure evil, nonredeemable villain for a change. I liked the changes to the animated film - having the original library Belle goes to be only a few worn books made so much more sense in a town where reading is considered odd, as well as enhancing the contrast between that and the huge library the Beast gives her. I can't say enough good stuff about the cgi - both breathtaking and flawless - with highlights for me being the rose petals swirling around the Beast as he transforms back into a prince, and the incredible details of the servants which carry back over into live-action - the piano has missing teeth as a human! Chip was precious, and as usual my favorite, Lumiere delightful, making me smile through all of his scenes, Mrs. Potts lovely and heartwarming, and the dog was adorable. I loved the scope and almost stage play feel of the set and song numbers, and the gorgeous songs, especially the heartbreakingly beautiful "Evermore".

I finally worked up the courage to see the latest X-Men film, Logan, which I'd been dreading. The series has been dear to me much of my life and it feels like a real life loss to say goodbye to the characters I love best. Despite that, it was a stunningly powerful and raw yet beautiful study, with a nearly western road trip feel I fell in love with. Laura was wonderful - I loved her foot claw!, and her relationship with Wolverine and Charles, too, was touching, as was Wolverine and Charles's relationship. I loved seeing all the familiar fighting moves and wildness of Wolverine reflected in a child, and the musings on nightmares, past mistakes, and love broke my heart as well as warmed it. I sobbed like a baby at the end - Laura turning the cross into an X! - and while I'm bitter that Wolverine couldn't live to find more joy raising her, I'm grateful he had a final moment of peace after all his torment.

The new Tangled series is out now, and despite my continuing issues with the animation - I'm sad it couldn't be like the film, or at least old-style 2d animation instead of the weird cartoon look - it's a delight to hear their familiar voices, and see Eugene and Rapunzel's relationship progress. There's so many cute nods to the movie - the cupcakes! - and adorable scenes, and the music and new characters are largely enjoyable.

In new old shows I've discovered the short-lived but intriguing Brimstone. Zeke is an easy to like main character, and the portrayal of the Devil is perfect and wonderfully creepy. I love its intro and concept, and it was building up quite an interesting story and cast of characters, all of whom interact wonderfully with the protagonist - I especially love Father Horn and the delightfully offbeat Maxine, as well as the poignant almost interactions Zeke has with his wife, who never fully gets to learn he's back from the dead. While some of the villains are more interesting than others, it's always fascinating to see where in history they came from, as well as what sin caused them to be condemned. Having Ash turn out to be the main villain was a stroke of genius, and an awesome twist, and I'm just sad the series didn't continue to see more of her and Zeke's interactions.

I've been meaning to check out Revolution for ages, and finally ended up binge-watching the whole series, completely falling in love with it along the way. The premise is both chilling and fascinating, the plot addictive, and I adore the character arcs, growth, and relationships, as I found myself growing to love characters I initially disliked and crying over ones I loved from the start. Miles and Charlie's relationship is the heart of the show - I'm so happy the comics revealed them to be father and daughter as I suspected from the start - and Miles and Bas's relationship both hurts and warms my heart in turns. I loved Maggie and Danny, and wish they hadn't both been killed off so early when their characters had so much potential. I'm also very sad about Jason, even if I never shipped Charlie and he. But I love most of the characters - I loathe Tom and Rachel - and watching them change.
emeraldarrows: The X-Files - Mulder kissing Scully on the forehead with text "Mulder/Scully" (2)
2017-02-28 01:06 am

Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything's possible again.

Next on my reading list was Legend by Marie Lu which promised a high-speed futuristic tale, and more than delivered.

Summary on the back: What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem. From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths — until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

My thoughts: I'm always drawn to dystopian stories, and Legend had me hooked from the very beginning, and turning pages without stopping. The story is fast-paced, well-written, stuffed with intrigue, twists and turns, and the delicious enemies to allies/lovers trope which I adore. And while there was little time amidst all the actions for character study, even if the POV switches meant I got to spend time in both of the protagonists' heads, June and Day were both interesting and likable characters, making them easy to root for - and the romance was perfectly sweet and hopeful at the ending. Likewise, the side characters, particularly Tess, were intriguing, and I wanted more of them, especially Day and Tess's relationship which I really enjoyed. I must admit, though, the older I get, the more I side-glance the youthful age of YA protagonists, and neither Day nor June ever seemed realistically portrayed as fifteen year olds - not with Day being the most wanted criminal in the country, and June a prodigy, determined to hunt down the person who killed her brother (I personally kept picturing them as far older, otherwise it was just sort of weird and laughable).

Sadly, despite such a potentially fascinating setting, the world-building was quite thin. There's only a few details about the crime-ridden, plague-filled, government-controlled country the characters live in - although I did adore the old coin, and the characters' realization that the United States was a "real" place and not just a myth - and barely any background explaining how it came to be. While this did give the novel a sort of immersive feeling - like being dropped into the middle of the future - it also resulted in a lot of confusion and some frustration for me, as I adore good world-building and as many details as possible.

But, ultimately, I had a lot of fun reading Legend, and am looking forward to starting the sequel.
emeraldarrows: Turn - Ben looking up (15)
2017-02-10 12:54 am

She screams. Of course. Mortal females tend to do that.

I initially put off trying As You Wish by Jackson Pearce due to its dreadful cover (yes, I judge books by how they look, I know I shouldn't) but gave it a try anyway because I do enjoy genies. And I ended up loving every moment.

Summary on the back: Ever since Viola's boyfriend broke up with her, she has spent her days silently wishing—to have someone love her again and, more importantly, to belong again—until one day she inadvertently summons a young genie out of his world and into her own. He will remain until she makes three wishes. Jinn is anxious to return home, but Viola is terrified of wishing, afraid she will not wish for the right thing, the thing that will make her truly happy. As the two spend time together, the lines between master and servant begin to blur, and soon Jinn can't deny that he's falling for Viola. But it's only after Viola makes her first wish that she realizes she's in love with Jinn as well ... and that if she wishes twice more, he will disappear from her life — and her world — forever.

My thoughts: For a fluffy supernatural teen romance, I was not expecting such intricate and unique mythos and world-building! I adored the distinct "otherness" and non-human portrayal of genies, their origin, and the world. I loved how Jinn steadily became more human in his thoughts and emotions the longer he spent in the human world, and I was fascinated by the description of his appearance and thought-processes, especially how he perceived time: being psychically able to see the affects of aging in humans and himself even over only a few hours. I also liked the idea that genies are forgotten by their masters once the wishes are complete. And the whole concept of genies needing to urge masters to make their wishes quickly - as they only age in the human world and return to their own world once they wish - was brilliant.

I also didn't expect the book to be as witty as it was. Several moments had me laughing, and I snickered at Keanu Reeves having been one of Jinn's past masters (having wished to be a famous actor, but not a good one). The plot was a bit cheesy, the romance a tad rushed, and the conclusion predictable, but the story moved at a quick pace that kept me interested and left me wishing for more, even though I was pleased with how the plot wrapped up. Apparently, it's listed as the first book of a series, but I felt it stood perfectly fine on its own. And while most of the characters weren't particularly deep, they were all perfectly enjoyable, making it easy to root for their ultimately happy and very satisfying end.

Overall, As You Wish was a delightfully imaginative and creative tale that I greatly enjoyed. Still a shame about that cover, though.
emeraldarrows: The Mentalist - Patrick smiling and looking adorable (14)
2017-02-04 04:13 am

The people said the cold had lasted a hundred years, and feared that it would last a hundred more.

Next on my reading list was Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George. I've been meaning to dip into an East of the Sun, West of the Moon retelling for some time, and this was a nice start, even if not exactly what I was expecting.

Summary on the back: "Blessed" or "cursed" with an ability to understand animals, the Lass (as she's known to her family) has always been an oddball. And when an isbjorn (polar bear) seeks her out, and promises that her family will become rich if only the Lass will accompany him to his castle, she doesn't hesitate. But the bear is not what he seems, nor is his castle, which is made of ice and inhabited by a silent staff of servants. Only a grueling journey on the backs of the four winds will reveal the truth: the bear is really a prince who's been enchanted by a troll queen, and the Lass must come up with a way to free him before he's forced to marry a troll princess.

My thoughts: More an adaptation than a true retelling, the book still paints a lovely, even though simplistically told, story. I loved the fairytale imagery, as well as how very Norwegian the setting seemed - so many retellings seem to lose their roots in the country of origin, but Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow enhanced them and brought them vividly to life. The romance, a bit too much fairytale like in that regard, unfortunately, was woefully underdeveloped - the most compelling relationships are between Lass and her brother, and Lass and her dog Rollo, who I adored. I would have liked a bit more details of Lass's gift, as well, but it was easy enough to simply accept it - helped by the fact that Rollo gets some of the best moments once he turns up and starts talking to her.

The book is, unfortunately, quite lacking in depth or originality - I would have loved a bit more world-building and character introspection, not to mention more explanation for the magical elements - and why exactly there was a faun in the story at all? - but it oddly benefits the fairytale tone. And, the characters, while not very distinctive, are all perfectly likeable, which was refreshing. The book, also, had a nice, cozy feel, like reading a childhood story that didn't require a great deal of effort or thought to appreciate.

Overall, Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow was a breezy, often sweet book with a childish warmth that I greatly enjoyed.
emeraldarrows: Lost - Sawyer looking up over the top of a book with text "reading is sexy" (13)
2017-02-04 04:09 am

Ah, but you're only a girl, and cannot know the ways of men.

After Wicked Girls, I discovered the similar The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent. But unlike the prior book, I was left with mixed emotions.

Summary on the back: Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. This is the story of Martha's courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived.

My thoughts: The Heretic's Daughter is a vividly descriptive, deeply haunting portrayal of the harshness and cruelty of Puritan life, sparing no punches as it digs deep into the religion, practices, and people behind the trials. The writing is beautiful - I'm incredibly impressed that it's the writer's first novel - the side characters interesting, and the story powerfully dismal, and often achingly sad. I understand Kathleen Kent is a descendant of the protagonist, which adds a fascinating link to the story.

Despite all this, there were some elements that made me uncomfortable, particularly the portrayal of Mercy Lewis. Considering that historians believe she was mentally ill, the depiction of her seemed both disrespectful and cringe-worthy. And as much as I enjoyed the accuracy of the historical details, the book had a grimness that bordered on the grotesque, even seen through the eyes of little Sarah who seems far too jaded and world-weary for her years. I was left with a weirdly unsettled feeling as Sarah anticipates, and occasionally seems to relish death - even long before the trials, as she observes her baby sibling leaning over the side of a wagon. I felt the story would have been better from the adult perspective, perhaps, as much of it felt far too advanced for such a young narrator.

Ultimately, despite an unflinching accuracy that I deeply appreciated, I was left with an ill feeling after so many pages spent immersed in such a unpleasant world.